Every time you spend $10 at a locally owned store, anywhere from $4 to $7 re-circulates in your local economy. That’s $1 to $6 MORE than if that same $10 was spent at a big retailer. Since Create Birmingham launched CO.STARTERS in 2014, 240+ entrepreneurs have graduated from the program. Many have gone on to launch successful businesses, from brick-and-mortar shops to food tours, and earn local and regional press praise for their success. Get to know them. Get to know their businesses.

“CO.STARTERS was an incredibly beneficial experience. It forces you to answer the tough questions sooner versus later when the stakes can be much higher. It also takes a unique perspective on business development, addressing the personal and professional aspects of business ownership.”

Kristen Farmer Hall, The Essential
  • Black Sheep Kitchen | Julianna Grimes
    81 Church Street, Suite 104, Mountain Brook, Alabama 35213
    Made from scratch meals for customers to take home, reheat, and eat
  • Blueroot Co. | Jennifer Ryan
    Fast casual restaurant providing premium, fresh, delicious, whole, pure, and beautiful food options
  • Eagles Soul Food Restaurant | Amaarah Mccray
    2610 16th St N, Birmingham, AL 35204
    Restaurant serving fresh soul food based on traditional southern dishes
  • The Essential | Kristen Hall
    2018 Morris Ave, Birmingham, AL 35203
    All-day cafe serving seasonal, New American fare focused on the beautiful produce of southern soil
  • Jumpers | Yolanda & William Bowie
    Sports bar and grill offering a casual but sophisticated atmosphere
  • Lillie’s Cup | Aquilla Stanback
    Comforting tea room offering lunch and sweets
  • Rooted | Ter’A Duboise
    A vegan plant based food truck that offers food you would know was plant based
  • WE Community Café | Ama Shambulia
    1229 Cotton Ave SW, Birmingham, AL 35211
    A pay-what-you-can social enterprise focused on building community by providing delicious and healthy food
  • Finale | Shatysha Billingsley
    Fine wines, decadent desserts, and savory snacks hand-delivered to the customer
  • Harvest Moon Vegan | Jennifer Dunbar
    Healthy vegan alkaline food and nutritional coaching used to help individuals and families transition into their health goals
  • Not Just Catering | Eryka Perry
    Catering and personal chef service offering small events catering, in-home, and traveling chef services, and individual health coaching
  • The Preservery | Dre Foster
    Southern heritage, fine-dining catering combining comfort food traditions with international flavors and presenting it in new and interesting ways
  • Sorelle | Joy Smith
    Catering business with healthy comfort food and desserts
  • Vicious Delicious | John Harrington
    Intensely curated dinner events designed to showcase moments, memories, and pleasant times in your life
  • Beehive Baking Company | Sarah Schlund & Caedan Oliver
    Micro-bakery in Crestwood specializing in garden-inspired sourdoughs, breads, and other baked goods
  • LadyBell’s Cakery & Catering | Roslyn Bell
    Freshly baked cakes for any occasion
  • Match Chocolate | Kala Northrup
    A small-batch artisan bean-to-bar chocolate company sourcing cocoa beans from around the world that have been ethically sourced and expertly grown and fermented
  • Mecca in the South | Stephanie Muhammad
    Cinnamon rolls made with whole wheat, raisins, nuts, and different icing flavors
  • Patty Cakes | Patty Roberson
    Specialty bakery that also offers baking supplies
  • Pure Imagination Candy Shoppe | Recey Blake
    A mobile candy store based out of a tiny home
  • Sweet Essence Candy Bar | Ebony Butler
    Catering company specializing in desserts, party favors, and candy bar buffets
  • Velvet Kake | Kenya Pickens
    5831 1st Ave N #200, Birmingham, AL 35212
    A bakery offering a variety of cakes and pastries for everyday and special occasions
  • Elysian Fields International | Kali McNutt
    Saffron importing business from Afghanistan
  • Gift & Gather | Malissa Nelson
    Specialty gift baskets with something to eat, something to keep, and something to give away.
  • Green Guy Gourmet | Joshua Smith
    Organic food products that are nutrient-dense and versatile in use, from vinaigrettes to protein bars
  • Honey from Breezy Knoll | Dick Berliner
    Local honey and beeswax products
  • Magic City Ferments | Shannon Carden
    Naturally fermented vegetables
  • Stone’s Throw Market | Brent Kendrick
    Multiple farm and garden collaboration that seeks to provide locally grown foods to customers with our Farm to Front Door initiative
  • Alabama Juice Bar | Emily Tidwell
    All-natural, cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies
  • Ceremony Tea House | Apryl Rowe & Miguel Milano
    A small tea house with a variety of rare, well-sourced teas, alongside a selection of high-quality core teas
  • Domestique Coffee | Krysta Parsons
    Roaster: 3017 6th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233
    Coffee Shop: 200 41st St S, Birmingham, AL 35222
    Coffee company dedicated to high quality, fair-trade coffee
  • Ghost Train Brewing | Taylor DeBoer
    2616 3rd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233
    Microbrewery and tasting room located in Lakeview with each recipe artfully and mindfully created
  • Just a Tish, Wine & More | Kelly Davis
    Wine shop selling wines by the bottle and by the glass as well as a small selection of craft beer.
  • So Good | Rochelle Liston
    Food brand with a line of fresh juices and vegan food
  • Wholesome Soda Co. | Eric Holsomback
    A local soda company using high quality, often organic ingredients. Light-moderate in sweetness and using mostly local produce as possible
  • Anne B. Sullivan School for Innovative Learning | Anita Gray
    A school for students who do not learn well in a traditional classroom environment
  • Art Town East Lake Station | Robert Emerick
    7611 1st Ave N, Birmingham, Alabama 35206
    Affordable studios, teaching, performing, and gallery spaces for emerging & established artists
  • Creative studio and workspace | Rajeeyah Shahid
    Creative studio where people can come and learn fun craft and DIY skills from local makers
  • Family Dive Club | Dina Marble
    Scuba diving programs for kids, teens, and families
  • Forge | Kim Lee
    120 19th St N #200, Birmingham, AL 35203
    Professional, membership-based, coworking space
  • Good Dog | Tim Cebula
    Fresh doggie dinners made with human-grade, restaurant-quality meats, fish, and vegetables and delivered to your home
  • Gypset Beauty Co. | Kim Hightower
    4075 Helena Rd, Helena, AL 35080
    Beauty studio offering special event hair, makeup, and spray tan services both on location and in the studio
  • Laugh and Learn Child Development Center | Victoria Sherrod-Milton
    A full-service child care development center with affordable tuition, a well-seasoned staff, creative learning, parent education, and flexible hours
  • Love Me Madly | Antonia Viteri
    A lifestyle awareness consultation service for home, garden, and health offering custom herbal analysis
  • Maasai Chic | Mary Jones
    Empowering women in East Africa by employing them to make fair-trade fashion and accessories
  • Posh Luxury Brand | Kim King
    Luxury hair extensions, all-natural highly pigmented lip colours, along with 3-Dimensional lashes
  • Royalty Hookah Bar | Courtney Harris
    Hookah bar that provides a relaxed atmosphere and authentic experience for social gatherings as well as business meetings and events
  • Sabaoth House Bed & Breakfast | Arthelia Lipscomb & Chris Agerston
    A luxury and Spa Bed and Breakfast in the city
  • The Shayla Nicole Collection | Shayla Hatcher
    A cosmetic line specializing in products that are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, allergy tested, and non-comedogenic
  • Stevenson Design | Stanley Stevenson
    Boutique design firm that specializes in interiors
  • Stitches Hair Studio | Ter’A Duboise
    A hair salon serving women and men of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The salon provides hair care products and takes a natural approach to caring for your tresses
  • ALL Ent. | Deyarlo Wilson
    Musician and producer
  • Amber Simpson Art | Amber Simpson
    Artist specializing in watercolor, resin, and alcohol ink.
  • Artist | Tootie Washington
    Artwork created to liven up dull spaces
  • Asthetik | Dontez & Jamie Heard
    Cultivated resources and spaces for creative individuals
  • AVE | Abbie Hyche
    Nature-centered apparel and accessories for eco-conscious consumers
  • Callner Creates | Drew Callner
    Multi-Media services specializing in documentary filmmaking, music videos, event videography, drone photography, event & wedding photography, and portrait photography
  • Celeste Pfau | Celeste Pfau
    A fine artist using natural spaces – wild or planted – as the root of her creative process
  • Ecam and Co. | Elizabeth Cameron
    Handmade soy candles made from recycled wine bottles
  • Ergonomic Hairwashing Product | Latresha Ellis
    Ergonomic pillow aiding in the hairwashing process for parents and children
  • FreeCreation House | Jeremy Ferguson + Madison Langston
    Conscious streetwear created with you, the environment, and the future inhabitants of earth in mind
  • Hoam Candle Co. | Derek DeAndre
    An aroma company that specializes in curating unique and inviting scent experiences by combing luxurious natural waxes with complex international fragrance oil blends.
  • HM Prints | Hannah Mills
    Small batch screen printing
  • Infinite Soaps | Chris Funderburk
    Handmade, natural, and organic when possible soaps and skincare products that are safe for your skin
  • Jaden Jen | Jasmine Raines
    Organic skincare line of precious botanicals, fine oil, and high-performance extracts
  • Major Colbert Photography | Major Colbert
    Professional photography focusing on artistic contextual portraiture for commercial, editorial and retail clients
  • MAKEbhm | Bruce Lanier
    Makerspace in Avondale with studios for members, co-working areas, class offerings, and retail spaces
  • Mighty Babe Apparel | Essence White
    Eco-friendly streetwear and accessories for women using recycled fabric, natural dyes, and use zero-waste production
  • Milk and Honey Aromatherapy | Valerie Carter
    Self-care line using natural ingredients providing luxury items for the mind, body, and soul
  • Namaste Beauty | Nneka Gunn
    Organic, all-natural beauty products for skin and hair
  • Photobomb.Co | Kelsey Weeks
    Photographer and Photobooth rental service
  • Press Darling Prints | Brenton Reid
    Screen printing shop specializing in custom apparel and high-quality posters
  • The Red Pincushion | Christine McLean
    Sewing studio and workroom offering custom-made home décor items such as pillows, cushions, and draperies
  • Safe Place Art | Jacquelyn Davis
    Photographer with a focus on disability and creating authentic experiences for all persons.
  • Scribes: A Growlery | Al Elliott
    Member-based coffee shop and creative commons for the community-minded and caffeine-inclined. Members are curators of an open-source community literary exchange which is distributed monthly
  • SeeAmyDraw | Amy Roberts
    Customized stickers for your planner or journal
  • Signal Woodworks | Blake Ellis
    A design company specializing in drums & percussion as well as smaller items such as pens, cutting boards, watch boxes, and other accessories
  • Smouve | Joy Stewart
    Handmade skincare line
  • Spruce Planner | Sara Cannon
    A project-based planning and task managing app that syncs across all of your devices
  • Stem and Stone | Artesha Steele
    Handmade holistic healing company utilizing elements of the earth such as crystals, organic herbs, salts, and clays to restore and invigorate mind, body, and soul
  • Stephen Smith Fine Art Gallery | Stephen Smith
    5104 Gary Avenue, Fairfield, AL 35064
    Commercial art gallery striving to feature artwork that is thought-provoking and technically excellent
  • Townsend/Colvin | Melanie Colvin
    Limited edition artisan lamps created using concrete, metal, paper, and found objects
  • Viewtopia Pictures | Chris Prichard
    Location still photography services for small businesses, solo entrepreneurs, and real estate agents, including headshots and website content
  • Woodlawn Jewelry Co. | Angela Santiago
    Handmade polymer clay jewelry offering funky, unique, one-of-a-kind designs at affordable prices.
  • bhamstands | Tim Majors
    A project that covers protests, city council meetings, nonprofit work, small businesses, and events in the southeast.
  • Bib & Tucker Sew-Op | Lillis Taylor
    4915 5th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35222
    Facilitating a sewing-based cottage industry that provides income and flexible working conditions for women who head their households
  • Druid City Garden Project | Stella Pfau
    Tuscaloosa-based non-profit that brings gardens to elementary schools and trains teachers on how to use them as learning tools
  • Fatherhood | Porter Foster
    Connecting family through identifying fathers of orphaned children
  • Five Points West Community Tent Market | Henry Ford
    Community tent market used to fund medical missionary clinics in the Blackbelt region of Alabama
  • Hands on History | Meghan Lewis
    Hands-on educational experience committed to bringing American history alive
  • Khairi and Little Angels’ Memorial | Tomeka Walker
    Burial assistance and counseling to low-income families who have experienced the loss of their infant from 20 weeks gestation to 12 months of age.
  • MILLEN Forward | James Sullivan
    A social enterprise empowering millennials through financial education, real estate knowledge, and technology ideation
  • Oasis Gardens Ensley | Hank Layman
    A non-profit urban agriculture initiative to establish community gardens, revive private yard gardens and start commercial agriculture projects in Ensley
  • Real Life Poets | John Paul Taylor
    4911 5th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35222
    Community service and mentoring organization focusing on mentoring young adults, encouraging good communication, and oratorical skills using spoken word poetry and the arts
  • Rites and Realities | LLeweLLyn Cooper
    Community-based non-profit dedicated to fostering progressive social change through the efforts and on behalf of African American males ages 12-17
  • Soul Care| Gary Purdy
    One on one counseling with CEO’s and employees
  • STREAM Innovations | Adrienne Starks
    Committed to helping students to develop and explore their passion for Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STREAM) by providing exposure, experiences, and engagement with high expectations for their success
  • The Listening Project | Elizabeth Vander Kamp
    Environments of community and art where people come together and practice listening to one another to nurture, support, and encourage the people of Birmingham
  • WE Made | Emily Thornton + Susan Crow
    4244 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35222
    Quality handmade products for our customers while providing employment and training opportunities for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment
  • Ashley Nolen Consulting | Ashley Nolen
    Certified Professional Coach working with individuals and business leaders wanting to excel in all areas of their lives
  • Byngam Property Services | Jill Tolbert
    Property management for investors; make-ready services for property managers; and move-in ready services for individuals buying, selling, or renting a home
  • CHOP Friendly | Tanisha Foster
    Products and services catering to kids with multiple food allergies
  • CMW Enterprises | Cutressa M Williams
    A consultant helping locally-focused businesses AND non-profits to work together to create profits and opportunities.
  • Community Consultant | T. Marie King
    Facilitator, Speaker and Trainer working with organizations on understanding bias and being self-aware, creating pathways to community engagement and methods to nonviolence.
  • Cristal Clear Strategies | Cristal Brister
    Applied Theatre Practitioner and Teaching Artist inspiring dialogue, fostering education, and enacting change through workshops, wellness experiences, and performances.
  • Happenin’s in the ‘Ham | Russell Hooks
    A blog acting as a curator for the Birmingham renaissance – promoting involvement in local businesses, festivals, and activities
  • Impactful Giving Consultant | Kathryn Corey
    Giving nonprofits and Private & Corporate Foundations tools they need to achieve their short and long-term giving goals
  • JP Marketing LLC | Jeralyn Powell
    A full-service marketing agency that helps organizations and businesses “Create, Communicate, & Connect”
  • Katalyst Media Group | Kristi Oliver
    Full-service digital media agency helping business owners and entrepreneurs
  • Kindperks | Sanjay Kumar
    A mobile app allowing restaurants to market unsold food to users looking for a deal while also helping the environment and reduce food waste
  • KnackHaus | Paul Martin
    A branding firm creating customized, personalized plans for startups and small businesses
  • Medicolegal consultant firm | Decontee Jimmeh
    Practice offering independent medical exams, record review and opinion, testimony, and telemedicine consults
  • Mrs. Clean Green | Rebecca Davis
    Residential cleaning service that produces and sells their own line of non-toxic, all-natural, environmentally friendly cleaning products
  • Prepping for Success | Karen Nathan
    Teaching the art of hairstyling, make-up, nail art, skincare, and the cosmetology industry
  • ProTech Tax Services LLC | Pattric Barnett
    Retail tax office that uses technology to make getting taxes done easier and more efficient
  • One Degree Marketing | Jacqueline Jones
    Marketing and branding business that focuses on small business, entrepreneurs, and personal brands
  • Party Boutique Kids | Danielle Hines
    Full-service party planning business for children. Themed birthday party experiences, providing a memorable party for the child while taking the stress off the parent
  • Perk Brands | Jason Otis
    Customized plans for effective internal and external communication for multiple-location businesses and peer-to-peer companies
  • Quantum Taxx | Jamella Stroud
    Tax preparation company focusing on lower to middle-class households
  • Quire Consulting | Autumn Foster
    Consulting practice that helps organizations use a human-centered design approach to solving problems in social impact industries
  • R.E.D. BRIDGE | Casey Giddens
    Recruiting, equipping, and deploying talented skilled laborers to companies that care about diversity and developing their own employees
  • Redthread Consulting | Rebecca Dobrinski
    Full-service agency providing philanthropy and community engagement management
  • Talent and Performance Management Consulting | Tonya Allen
    Coaching and consulting to individual clients and companies in the area of talent management, career strategy, and employee relations
  • Small Box Co. | Eric Tasker
    Providing innovative, affordable, temporary spaces for entrepreneurs to test their product in their market
  • Southern Made Creatives | Kenya Russell
    Creative digital media agency connecting big businesses with target demographics within their primary audiences.
  • Strategic Alignment Group | Ronique Carter
    Business consulting that includes integrated process solutions, strategic planning, project and operations support, cross-functional problem solving and operational change management
  • Trek EC | Trey Noland
    Environmental services firm promoting the revitalization of urban areas by streamlining the brownfield redevelopment process
  • Waste to Worth | Frank Franklin
    A pilot for industrial production of Black Soldier Fly larvae grown on pig manure to substitute for fish meal in the production of fish feed
  • Whitney B Events + Styling | Whitney Brantley
    Event Planning and Wardrobe Styling
  • ii Fish and v Loaves | Temesha Washington
    3000 12th Ave N, Birmingham, Alabama 35234
    Providing healthy food choices in a food dessert through delivery and storefront
  • A Curb Market | Ambre Amari
    109 Glenn Ave., Trussville, Alabama 35173
    A space that showcases Birmingham’s artists and makers through workshops, classes, and markets.
  • Burdock Book Collective | Katie Willis
    4413 5th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35222
    Feminist bookstore and safe community organizing space
  • Dixon Creative | Karen Dixon
    3659 Lorna Road, Suite 141, Hoover, Alabama 35216
    Family owned art studio offering fused glass classes for adults and teens and craft classes for children 5-15
  • Dreamers Supply Co. | Kaitlin Slattery
    A creative retail space that supplies and drives the dreamers and doers of the community offering unique gifts to those that value quality and individualism
  • House Plant Collective | Jessica Watts
    3621 5th Ave South, Birmingham, Alabama 35222
    Mobile plant store by offering access to houseplants in the downtown area, plant-care educational opportunities through workshops, and connection through community plant events.
  • It’s Poppin! Vintage | Keisha Paige Barnett
    1904 2nd Ave North, Bessemer, Alabama 35020
    An urban vintage store full of funky edgy street style inventory
  • Laced Up Boutique | Joseph Brown & Lauron Pijeaux
    Sneaker boutique specializing in vintage and rare sneakers
  • Refresh Clothing | Corey Bishop
    2247 Bessemer Rd, Birmingham, AL 35208
    Men’s clothing store located in Five Points West
  • Saint Vincent | Josh Vinson
    Retail shop that is a combined men’s clothing and home decor boutique
  • Seasick Records | Daniel Drinkard
    4420A 4th Ave South, Birmingham, AL 35222
    Independent neighborhood record store buying and selling used and new albums
  • The Shoe Clinic LLC | Alvin Miller
    1801 11th Ave S, Birmingham, Alabama 35205
    Dry cleaning for sneakers and a line of cleaning products
  • Sidekicks Sneaker Shop | Bonaventure Akinlosotu & JB Bradley
    400 41st St S, Birmingham, AL 35222
    Sneaker boutique offering trendy attire and the latest footwear
  • Thank You Books | Kristen Iskandrian
    5502B Crestwood Blvd, Birmingham, AL 35212
    Independent bookstore with a full spectrum of programming and an exciting and thoughtful inventory of gifts
  • Trove | Karen Gathany
    Small independent retail shop with a focus on art and design
  • A Beautiful Life Enterprises | Ama Shambulia
    A well-being consulting practice that works with individuals through classes, coaching, workshops, and as a personal chef
  • Abundance Yoga | Nancy Rhodes
    611 Doug Baker Blvd Suite 116, Birmingham, AL 35242
    Body positive yoga studio for bodies of all shapes, sizes, and physicality
  • Awake/BHM | Terri Ann Heiman
    A cooperative business model bringing together businesses in the healing arts centered around a meeting and educating space
  • Birmingham KettleBell Academy | Lu Lake
    Russian hardstyle kettlebell gym offering functional and bodyweight training with a focus on the whole body for optimal health and wellbeing
  • Deep Roots Apotheké & Clinic | Cameron Strouss
    620 Main Street Montevallo, AL 35115
    Holistic apothecary and consultation service focusing on nutritional and dietary counseling and lifestyle changes
  • Greater Level Training | Jermaine & Qshequilla Mitchell
    Inclusive wellness for ALL providing financial, mental, & physical fitness coaching
  • Ignite Cycle | Tiffany Martin
    224 29th St S, Birmingham, AL 35233
    Indoor cycling studio offering a high-intensity, high-energy rhythm ride
  • Life Touch Massage | Lemar Storey
    1223 2nd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233
    A spa destination that provides affordable massage and nail services along with a tranquil and rejuvenating experience
  • Magic City Dentistry | Kristye Dixon
    2117 1st Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203
    Dental practice in Vestavia opening a second location meant to target the local population working and living in the central business district
  • PUSH Initiative | Miracle Reese
    Nurse-led whole health service to promote a healthy lifestyle, disease prevention and management of chronic diseases through practical ways of “eating well” and “moving more”
  • Seniors in Motion | Melissa Turnage & Cynthia Brennan
    Dance and movement classes for seniors in the community
  • Shāk Bär | Layla Hamilton
    Boutique fitness studio that also sells a line of juices and smoothies
  • Studio Steel | Elle Nelson
    1401 Montgomery Hwy #9, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216
    Inspiring people to move and create healthy, fit, strong bodies through pole dance & fitness, conditioning, and choreographed dance classes
  • Walden Farmacy | Trevor Mann
    Family-owned herb farm producing herbal medicines including teas, tinctures, salves, bitters, and elixirs

“For me, it’s just getting out there and really getting to test your assumptions. Do I have a viable product to put out to the market? You really get to test that and you get to meet people and talk to people. It forces you out there and you find out what people like and what they don’t like. What you need to change, what you need to add. I think every small business owner needs to go through CO.STARTERS. Now I really know the direction I want to take with Eugene’s Hot Chicken.”

Zebbie Carney, Eugene’s Hot Chicken